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Third Coast Old Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Third Coast Old AleThird Coast Old Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,830 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1830
Reviews: 956
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
From Bell's website:
"Third Coast Old Ale is a cellerable American-style barleywine that has notes of dried fruit and caramel embedded in a rich malt background that will grow more complex over time."

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-28-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,830 | Reviews: 956 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of FLima


3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber reddish color with a thin beige head with low retention.
Aroma of dark and red fruits, licorice and port wine.
Intense flavor of prunes, caramels, charred wood, red fruits, house wine, fig, raspberry, smoked, roasted and toasted malts. Very dry and bitter aftertaste.
Medium to full body with low carbonation. Alcohol of 10.2% is harmonic with the beer. Sticky feeling.
Beer with good complexity and lower drinkability given its sweetness and sticky flavors, partially expected from the style.

Serving type: on-tap

02-26-2014 21:33:55 | More by FLima
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 02/11/14 notes. On tap at The Jeffrey in NYC; $8 for a 10oz pour in a tulip.

a - Pours a somewhat murky reddish brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits, wheat, oats, plums, figs, toffee, caramel malts, toasted malts, bread, and alcohol. Nice nose, lots of dark fruits and malts.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruity malts, caramel malts, alcohol, bread, grains, toasted malts, toffee, wheat, dough, earthy notes, light spice. More caramel and booze than the nose.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Light booze to it.

o - Overall a very nice old ale. Lots of dark fruits and caramel throughout. Alcohol is a little noticable but it doesn't hinder drinking it. Would have it again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2014 21:30:23 | More by mdfb79
Photo of cambabeer


4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very nice brown body with some reddishness and nice small carbonation that makes for a nice tannish head. Very sweet and alcohol in the nose, somewhat like wheat bread and some fruity apple like-ness. Sweeter in the beginning a little bitter from the burnt caramelized taste, with some chocolatey undertones. Some hops are in there but just enough to offset the sweetness of the malt. The alcohol also helps to balance out the sweetness. This was great and enjoyed with good friends, good for a winter time ale.

Serving type: on-tap

01-24-2014 04:42:20 | More by cambabeer
Photo of cjgiant

District of Columbia

3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: dark ruby brown, looks maybe a slight cloudiness, hard to tell for sure. Some sustaining head and decent lacing
S: had trouble getting much at first; mainly dates and figs, little clay undertone
T: starts with a feel of toasted bitterness underneath a date/fig front. I get a little fortified-wine like taste in the back that seems tied to the alcohol making a presence, which also lends to a fleeting alcohol-soaked cherry twinge. The middle is bittersweet, burnt brown sugar, molasses.
M: a stronger dry-bitter pull than I expected. The dry pull is usually welcome, but the bitterness doesn't quite work with the malt flavor, for me (reminds me of being a similar sensation of OJ shortly after brushing).
O: the strong tastes mellowed as the beer warmed, with the fruity notes in both nose and taste strengthening. For me, a little less or better balance of bitter and sweet would bump this up a notch.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2013 22:58:52 | More by cjgiant
Photo of martyl1000


4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky bronze color with a moderate, beige head of soapy froth. Aroma is interesting, a vibrant melange of citrus, pine, milk chocolate, and a caramel sweetness. The flavor is extremely hop-forward and unlike any barleywine I've tasted. The palate is greeted by a huge blast of pine resin and alcohol, along with perky carbonation that accentuates both. Sweetness is almost non-existent except for traces of milk chocolate and nuts on the back end. Maybe maltier flavors can be teased out at room temperature? Regardless, this is not what I was expecting when I brought home a barleywine. Mouthfeel feels thin for the style; something more robust would better complement the flavor profile.

Serving type: on-tap

10-04-2013 00:43:57 | More by martyl1000
Photo of pcguitarwzrd


4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

World of Beer Orlando. Draft into snifter.

A: Deep reddish brown with a thick, clingy head.

S: Dark fruit, malt, hint of booze.

T: Plum/raisin, rum cake, caramel/toffee with a hint of dark chocolate (Skor bar anyone?). Booze and hops jump in toward the end and keep it from being too sweet. A whisper of espresso in the aftertaste?

M: Rich and satisfying, dries out nicely in the finish so as not to be syrupy. Booze prickles and warms but is never harsh.

O: A very enjoyable barleywine. A standard for the style.

Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2013 00:22:24 | More by pcguitarwzrd
Photo of DmanGTR

New York

4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Datz in Tampa. Review from notes.

Poured deep mahogany with garnet hues in the light. Light beige head that retained nicely. Very big on the malt spectrum. Lots going on here with molasses, caramel, hint of prunes, dates, and black currants. Hops are low key, lingering towards the finish, which is sweet and long lasting. Big body but not cloying. Carbonation makes this a pleasure to quaff. A highly recommended beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2013 16:46:00 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of Durge


3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another fun find at The Mellow Mushroom in Greensboro, NC. It shows a dark brown color with nice, swirly light-tan head and decent lace. I can smell some alcohol-grass and a tad wheat malt. Nothing too impressive but reasonable. The flavor strikes me at first as being tart. Then I get piney malt with grassy, whiskey malt, Dr Pepper/root beer, and a little boozy. Pretty good. It's medium-light bodied with a crispy feel. It has tiny bubbles, a solid "old ale".

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2012 06:24:30 | More by Durge
Photo of GR_Rick


3.25/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice dark reddish/copper coloring with a decent head. Very nice looking beer.

S: Smelled sweet, with some hop/bitterness in the nose.

T: Was going good until here - a little sweet for my liking. Too much caramel/molasses. Decently balanced, with a bit of bitterness, and a nice hit of alcohol (which I like in a high ABV beer).

M: Full body and thick mouthfeel, which I normally like. I like my stouts thick, but anything else I like just a bit thinner bodied.

O: Pretty decent beer overall, just too sweet and heavy for my liking. Could be a good example of the style (this is my first barleywine), but I'm not a fan. I may try again just because it's a local brew that's highly regarded, but my first taste didn't make me an immediate fan.

Serving type: on-tap

07-19-2012 22:23:03 | More by GR_Rick
Photo of AgentMunky


3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at Mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville. From notes. Reviewed 9 July 2011.

A: Good head fades and leaves some lace. Murky brown. Opaque; interesting. Some lacing.

S: Ginger (thanks to meerkey for identifying it). Tart. White grapes. Nice.

T: It tastes like Christmas. Peppermint bark? No. Meerkey nails it: gingerbread. Malty-robust with lots of alcoholic sugars. Mmm. Very interesting Old Ale. Quite strong, but enjoyable.

M: Strong -- not immense, but subtly excellent. Spicy (gingery) and full of sweet flavour.

O: Good, and *very* interesting. Worthwhile. Will try again. Recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

04-08-2012 03:22:17 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of JohnnyMc


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great beer from Bell's.

This had a deep amber color as is traditional with Barleywines and it had a little bit of head.

A strong amount of caramel, hops and dark fruit permeated the aroma, it's a pretty standard smell for this style, but it's still very appealing.

The taste had the same hop, caramel and dark fruit combination with a strong malt background that brought all the flavors together.

This was very very easy to drink despite the alcohol and it was perfect at about 55 degrees. Would get again.

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2012 15:48:35 | More by JohnnyMc
Photo of jzeilinger


3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep cherry mahogany color with some deep copper amber. The cream colored lacing is minimal and very thin. Carbonation is nill and the appearance is semi-hazy.

S - The nose pretty much sucks for a beer of this stature, get absolutely nothing! Either it's the beer or my nose, wish I had more to report here.

T - Wow! This just makes up for the lack of nose. Very complex with big oak, mild booze, creamy, bread crust, figs, sherry, raisins, and a semi-dry wood-like character.

M - Heavy medium body, lip smacking sticky, and somewhat chewy.

O - One of the more easy drinking barleywines I've ever had. Very drinkable and creates an "experience" for the drinker, well brewed. Now go out there and do something about the lack of aroma, Bell's.

Serving type: on-tap

10-06-2011 02:03:17 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of zaphodchak


3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Bell's Tap Takeover at Mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville, VA.

1.5 fingers of tan head-- brownish, ruddy and hazy, laces a ton.

Nose is tart, spicy, some malt and caramel. Some booze and maybe malty peach?

Taste is potent. Malty but heavily hopped, some caramel.

Mouthfeel is nice, standard.

Slightly bitter for something so malty. Aging would help a lot with this one.

Serving type: on-tap

07-22-2011 02:17:50 | More by zaphodchak
Photo of TheBear11D


4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz draft beer at Bell's on 7-8-11

Pours a deep amber red to auburn brown with a beige head that lasted a good while and leaves plenty of lacing.

Citrus hops are the most prominent in the nose with caramel also present.

Good balance of hops and malts. The citrus hops are again the standout here, but not for too long as the caramel malt shines and provides a great blend of flavor.

This is a thick beer and that makes me happy.

Overall this is a beer one should try if one is a beer drinker. The high ABV is fairly well hidden and the beer is well done all the way around.

Serving type: on-tap

07-10-2011 04:55:42 | More by TheBear11D
Photo of AgentZero


3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown/red color with minimal head. No real stick left on the sides, but it has the look of a barleywine.

S - Dark fruit and a lot of caramel. Something that makes me think of carroway seeds for some reason. Burnt sugar and a little bit of english on it, don't really know how else to describe that.

T - Solid tasting beer with good burnt sugars, candied fruit, dark fruit, and some phenols and ethers. Little bit of a hop bite to it.

M - Smooth, sugary, good carbonation, good for the style.

O - This is actually a very solid beer, if not a bit sweet. I'd love to see this one in some barrels.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2011 17:59:59 | More by AgentZero
Photo of homebrew311


3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed this at the Eccentric Cafe on my recent trip to Michigan.

A: pours a deep golden with a reddish tint, thin head, good clarity, some lacing

S: faint molasses, bit fruity notes with notes of licorice, deep earthy hops, some caramel character as well

T: big hoppy bitterness up front, a bit abrasive, big sweet malts follow it up with molasses and caramel. This is very sweet, almost cloying.

MF: this one is almost syrupy with the low carbonation and thick body

D: this is a little too sweet for my liking, lots of earthy character and sweet notes, just a little too much for me.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2011 06:36:50 | More by homebrew311
Photo of maddog13lb


4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a strong flavorful beer. Can often overpower the flavor of any food eaten with it, so it's best when sitting with a friend having a chat.

My favorite beer by far, but extreemly hard to find. I plan a trip to Bell's brewery every once in a while when this beer is in season just to get another taste. Sure wish this beer was more widely available.

Appearance - Dark brown, not much head.

Smell - Multiple aromas. Definitely can smell the high alcohol content.

Taste - American Barleywine accurately describes this beer.

Mouthfeel - Begins as a fruity taste, ends dry.

Drinkability - If it's on tap, it is a must try... bottled doesn't do it justice. Can't have too many because of the high alcohol content.

Serving type: on-tap

02-16-2011 10:46:02 | More by maddog13lb
Photo of koopa

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Vito at the Copper Mine Pub thanks!

Appearance: Pours a mahogany to garnet with a 1 finger khaki crown that shows moderate retention and lace.

Smell: Deep dry caramel malt and a hint of peat. Not complex at all.

Taste: Same as nose.

Mouthfeel: Light side of medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Thinner than I'd expect considering the style and abv.

Drinkability: Went down fairly smooth but I'm just not getting much from the flavor profile or mouthfeel.

Serving type: on-tap

08-29-2010 02:45:29 | More by koopa
Photo of kbutler1


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft. Stopped in the brewery and had a little sampler of several beers. Darker reddish amber color with a tan head. Sweet dark fruit aroma. Taste transitions nicely to a hoppy finish after the sweetness. Medium mouthfeel. Lingering taste. Very tasty.

Serving type: on-tap

08-19-2010 18:28:26 | More by kbutler1
Photo of decadance


4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Eccentric Cafe

A - A wonderful mahogany hue with about 2 inches of head.

S - I have to say this beer is one of the best smells I have had. It has the smells of sweets, toffee and some fruits.

T - It lives up to the smell. There is a nice back end of malt and hops.

M - It is smooth. Shockingly smooth. It coats, but does not destroy the palate. This is pleasant.

D - Only have to mark it down a but here because of the ABV and the nature of the style. I am left wanting more, but know better. An excellent example of the style.

Serving type: on-tap

07-12-2010 04:41:09 | More by decadance
Photo of haddon


4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

nice beer! pours a auburn brown with a nice thick, frothy head.

citrus, vanilla & thick malty aroma.

flavor profile has a plethora of notes: vanilla, mint, fig, rum that really balances the alcohol

full, creamy mouthful with nice amount of carbonation

very drinkable beer considering its an old ale. perfect way to end the day as a nightcap.

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2010 00:11:51 | More by haddon
Photo of supercolter


3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is decent with off-brown color and almost no head and lacing. Smell and taste are pretty good- this isn't my favorite style, but this is the best one I've had yet. A bit boozy but fairly well hidden for 10.2%. Mouthfeel is good, medium in body with little carbonation. Drinkability is decent.

Serving type: on-tap

09-14-2009 23:25:08 | More by supercolter
Photo of BigAl723


3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor.

A: Dirty copper with a beautiful tan head about two inches thick.

S: I'm not getting a lot by smelling this. As a matter of fact, it doesn't smell all that good. Very average smelling. Malt for the most part and pretty boozy.

T: Bitter and heavy. Carmel malts and fruity too. A little bitter as it goes down.

M: Medium carbonation. A little heavy in the mouth. The alcohol is present without a doubt. This is definitly an Old Ale.

D: A little much towards the end. But it still flows right down for being over 10 percent.

Overall, a good beer to end the night on. This beer keeps me warm on those bitter cold winter nights.

Serving type: on-tap

08-10-2009 20:42:40 | More by BigAl723
Photo of KickInTheChalice


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at the Eccentric Cafe.

Appearance: A caramel copper color with a thick creamy head. Leaves some lacing down the side of the glass.

Smell: Dark fruits, cherries, caramel, and molasses. A very strong, sweet smelling ale, although I would expect this from a barley wine.

Taste: Strong rasien and fig flavor throughout. Firm molasses malt taste carries most of the sip. A light bitterness lingers in the mouth, but not much of a hop presence. My only criticism of this one would be how sweet it is.

Mouthfeel: Even more noticeable than the taste is how creamy of a feel this has. Very smooth, to which the self-replenishing head will testify.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper. The sweetness lends it to be a beer best served with dessert or after dinner. A nice, strong flavor masks the ABV, but I will definitely still not be putting too many of these down in one sitting.


Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2009 07:09:01 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of kels


4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at the Indy Beer Sellar's Bell's tasting last night. Slowed the evening down a bit...

Appearance: Pour is super-hazy, cloudy, toffee brown with tremendous sticky lacing and a skim of head that hangs around. The beer just looks thick, syrupy and viscous.

Smell: Not nearly as overpowering a smell as i expected. Sweet, syrupy and malty tones dominate the nose in line with the style.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Feel is pure, slick, viscous syrup with a touch of carbonation to keep it from fully sinking in the mouth. Taste has a good balance of warming alcohol, sweet malts and bitter citrus (surprisingly). There is a lot to taste in this beer, and I'm pleasantly surprised that the alcohol doesn't cover it all up or overpower it as in many old ales.

Drinkability: Moderate to high for style - unusually balanced and mild.

Serving type: on-tap

06-23-2009 22:02:55 | More by kels
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Third Coast Old Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
92 out of 100 based on 1,830 ratings.